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Farewell Spider-Man
Review And Media by Amazing Spidey and James Harvey

Episode #65 - Farewell Spider-Man
Original Airdate January 31st 1998

Spider-Man enters a un-familiar dimension to stop Spider-Carnage from blowing up all reality. Can anyone help Peter Parker?

Written By: John Semper
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi
Animation Services By: Toyko Movie Shinsha (TMS)
Guest Starring: Christopher Daniel Barnes as Spider-Man/Peter Parker/Spider-Clones/Spider Carnage, Joan Lee as Madame Web, Roscoe Lee Browne as The Kingpin, Ed Asner as J Jonah Jameson, Earl Boen as The Beyonder, Jim Cummings as Man Spider,Mary Kay Bergan as Gwen Stacy and Brian Keith as Uncle Ben.

Review: Well, here it is. The final episode of Spider-Man. I saved this review for last because to be honest, I expect to ramble on for some time. Bare in mind, when I originally saw this episode all those years ago, I had no idea it would be the last time I’d ever see a new episode of my favourite show. In all honesty… this was probably the last time I’d get up on a Saturday morning to watch a show I love.

This is easily my favourite of all the Marvel cartoons and it was the last to air over here, which meant the likes of Batman and X-Men had already finished airing near me. And let’s be honest with ourselves, until around the 3rd season of X-Men: Evolution, it was the last great Marvel cartoon.

And what a great episode it was. On one hand, it failed to offer the ending that the show deserved. On the other? We got an utterly fantastic episode. Whilst it’s true that not finding out what happened to MJ is a bitterly disappointing development, one shouldn’t let it diminish this episodes entertainment. I’ve probably said this a few times over the course of the 2 years (!) it’s taken me to complete this site but truthfully… this episode is the balls.

Whilst it’s true the episode doesn’t really kick into high gear about half way through, the first half is entertaining enough. After several decades’ worth of waiting, we finally get to see Gwen Stacey animated in all her glory. All roads with Gwen lead to death that made it almost impossible to include her in the show, but Semper manages to get it done. It took him until the last possible minute to do it, but the fanboy in me absolutely loved seeing Peter’s long lost love on TV. The fight with the Spider-Robot wasn’t bad, but didn’t really serve any point in the grand purpose of things.

Whilst it’s true I could rant all day about how much I love this episode it’s not perfect. Nothing is, but here’s there’s a big problem. Again, it’s MJ. Going back to that damn Hydro Man story, we don’t actually get to see Spider-Man reunited with his wife. But, that’s not the most frustrating part of the episode. The worst part is the fact we arguably could’ve seen it, but didn’t because of the damn flashbacks. There’s no need for them in the final episode and if we could’ve had that extra 2 minutes with Peter reunited with his wife it would’ve been all the more sweeter. It’s the same with the Stan Lee scene. There really wasn’t need for it to be as long as it was. Then again, had they not bothered with those stupid Hydro Man episodes it would’ve so much better again.

Back to the episode itself, the 2nd half is where it really starts kicking. Peter finally realises that this enemy isn’t just another nut in a costume. If circumstances had gone slightly different, this could’ve been him. I thought the idea of using Spider-Carnage was a masterstroke. And the fact that the one person he was saving was Gwen, the one he famously failed to save in the comics? Damn it Semper, you know how it should be done. Even after reviewing every single episode of this show on the site often praising his name, I still don’t think he gets enough credit.

Even with all the weirdness of Madame Web, The Beyonder and all the clones, Semper still manages to make this Peter Parker’s story. In the end, it’s all about Peter. He even manages to get a great quote in there.

“You can’t do something this horrible. It just isn’t in you. Because it isn’t in me. And you are me.”

The glorious animation and superb voice work from Barnes can’t go unnoticed. For once, it seemed that everyone was giving it their all. Very little reused footage, no crappy cutting of the voices and awesome designs proved this. There’s this one line, which gives me goose bumps every time I hear it, it’s just delivered so perfectly.

“I’ve gotta stop him! No… that’s what I’m doing wrong… I have to remember, that my enemy here is me. Maybe I shouldn’t be trying to defeat him… maybe what I need to do is understand him.”

And what comes next? Spider-Carnage creates a portal that will kill anything that gets sucked in. The end of the universe! Yet, it still manages to shift back to Peter. Some people hated Spider-Man entering all the alternate realities but man… I’m glad they did here, because the scene on the rooftop was second to none. No crappy fights, no corny throw down dialogue. Nope, this was 3 guys talking and a girl being held hostage… and it was the balls.

Uncle Ben. Since the series started a few months/years after Peter became Spider-Man so we never really got to see Uncle Ben. He was dead by the time we started watching, which gave us very little reason to care. Here…man, it’s like he never left. He utterly nailed this scene. Absolutely fantastic. Right from Spider-Man question Spider-Carnage’s motivation to Spider-Carnage’s suicide. It stands out as one of the series definitive highlights.

The Stan Lee segment was cheesy, but somehow felt perfectly natural. Whilst it’s true they wasted a bit too much time with Stan, there was a point to it all other than sucking up. Again, Spidey’s speech sums it up.

SPIDER-MAN: “Y’know, for so long, I thought that I never got any breaks. But now, after all I’ve been through, for once I like my life. I like myself and for the first time ever, I wouldn’t wanna change anything about me. “

STAN: “Gee, you’re defiantly not the guy I’ve been writing about all these years. “

SPIDER-MAN: “Well Stan, we all have to grow up sometime. Even us characters of fiction.”

Watching it now, the fanboy in me can’t help but grin at the scene in Madame Web’s portal. “Face front true believer!” He may have had to deal with idiotic censors, money grabbing executives and crew members who clearly had no idea what they were doing but still, Semper never forgot about us Spidey fans!

Well, that’s it. 65 episodes of Spider-Man, done and dusted. Some good, some outstanding, some bad and some absolutely terrible, but they all have charms to them. Whilst the animation was never quite as strong as it was in the first few episodes, and the colour/dialogue/repeated animation got very tiresome after a while, the series itself never did. It’s not the most popular cartoon of it’s era, but, with the restrictions set by almost every aspect of the show, I think they did a damn good job. It’s been over 10 years since Spider-Man started, and Marvel still hasn’t managed to make a better cartoon, and the way things are… I doubt they ever will. Hopefully one day, we’ll get those Special Edition DVDs so Semper can explain how he did it.

In all honesty… sometimes I feel it’s a shame they only got 65 episodes.

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